Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reflections on the District #1


We recently returned from a trip to Williamsburg, VA and Washington, DC.  It was an amazing experience to actually walk upon some of the same ground that the first permanent English colonists trod, see Virginia's colonial capitol and witness the sites of Civil War and Revolutionary battles.  While I don't subscribe to the idea that one must see these places to be deeply informed about them, I do look forward to the next time I need to discuss Jamestown with my students or talk about the Revolutionary era.

I'll share some photos and reflections over the next couple weeks, but for now, a brief reflection: we had the opportunity to see the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  The statue is an arresting one (you can see better in the second photo how he emerges to chart a course through the mountain in the background).  What struck me most deeply, however, was that just as we came around the corner of the statue from behind, the elderly lady you can see toward the lower right side of the first photo -- with the tennis-ball-shod walker -- was having her photo taken in front of King.  The poignancy of that moment has stayed with me.  I can only imagine at the trajectory of this woman's life, but what changes she must have witnessed.  Perhaps she simply admired the man; perhaps she was an active participant in the movement.  We have distance yet to cover, but I am thankful for the progress we have made and I hope we can find the moral courage to continue the struggles waged by her generation -- and those before her.

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